- Result: Galwegians Women 79 - NUIM Barnhall 0
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sun Feb 12th 2012
- Competition: Paul Flood Leinster Womens Cup
Minus several starters, and on the back of a weather-affected preparation schedule, the Galwegians Women unleashed a riotous brand of winning rugby, Barnhall the unfortunate recipients 79points shy of their opposition at fulltime.
Galwegians spent the opening quarter of an hour somewhere between the dressing room and bed fluffing kick-offs, ignoring instructions, paying little heed to offside lines and misfielding shots at goal. Ringside trainers have thrown in towels and retired for performances better than that which opened 'Wegians' weekend account.
Barnhall, noticeably bigger by the tale of the tape, employed a forward-oriented rush defence which hurried the Galwegians ball-carriers and stifled much if not all creativity from the kick-off. At the breakdown Barnhall rarely threatened Galwegians possession, but stood their ground and countered whatever the Glenina Girls threw at them.
Once the hosts woke up and figured out there was space to burn among disjointed defenders the Blue Belles ran amok.
They employed structured football of forward runners off stand-in outhalf Becky McPhilbin to draw defenders into the midfield, and then McPhilbin or captain Emer O'Dowd (8) played puppeteer-extraordinaire sending receivers through gaping holes, and around mismatched outsides.
Anne O'Callaghan at nine once again staked her claim atop the most-improved ladder and was ably-backed by loose forward trio O'Dowd, Carol Staunton and Maire Murray.
Margaret Fitzgibbon and Lisa MacDonald in the centres found ample space, and numbers in support, as McPhilbin went looking for work once she'd fed beyond her. Wegians' Emma Kerr banked the four-try bonus point 30minutes into the first half, remarkable given the first quarter of an hour was barely palatable, and added the fifth on the stroke of half-time.
So often when scores blow out, chaos and disjointedness prevail. Not so on Sunday as O'Dowd rallied her charges at the break imploring them to adhere to the initial gameplan.
Concerted tight-five runners in numbers for the first two or three phases gifted O'Callaghan go-forward ball, and the backs (with the addition of Staunton at 12) picked up where they left off. Staunton and MacDonald featured with regularity on the scoresheet, and first-half fullback Sabina Egan stood in ably at 10 while McPhilbin underwent running repairs.
Sunday showed that while depth and player numbers may be an issue in the short-term future, versatility is not and several on deck on Sunday showed both willingness and talent beyond regular positions.
Cup rugby takes a break for two weeks, before the national knock-out competition resumes in March.